Dr Sam Bunting is a London-based cosmetic dermatologist specialising, quite simply, in great skin – she’d widely considered to be a beauty insider’s best- kept secret. We stole a minute with the lady herself where we learnt about her principals in balance and eating the rainbow, which are not too dissimilar to our own
As part of her mission to make high-quality skincare advice more accessible, she enthusiastically engages with the beauty press. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Tatler and Grazia to name a few.
1. You’ve had a fantastic and very successful career and have bridged the gap between traditional dermatology and beauty. Who are your clients and what do they come to you for?
The most satisfying thing about my practice is that it spans the complete spectrum: from household names in tv and film, to busy career women and stay-at-home mums. Refreshingly there’s no such thing as the typical patient, other than the fact that they all share a common goal: the desire for beautiful, healthy skin. Patients will often present with problem skin – the commonest skin disorders I see are acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation. But invariably, once we’ve gone through the ‘correction’ phase, there is an appetite for more and we move into ‘beautification’. It’s immensely rewarding work.
2. Our skin lets us know how healthy we are inside and out and The Pure Package knows that skin conditions are our body’s way of telling us that things on the inside aren’t working as well as they might. What are your tips on what to eat to keep your skin healthy?
I firmly believe in getting nutrition from ‘real’ food, sourcing what’s freshest and in season. A low GI-index diet is a great idea for those with inflammatory skin issues (like acne) and those who are keen to adopt an inside-out approach to anti-ageing will benefit from a diet rich in variously coloured fruits and veg, to ensure they harness the potent benefits of an antioxidant-rich diet. Spices (like turmeric), micronutrient-dense nuts and omega-3 and -6 sources (like salmon, avocado and walnuts) are also staples. I don’t believe in banning anything – I strongly believe that having the freedom to enjoy good food is one of the most important pleasures in life. But it’s all about balance and proportion, in context of a healthy, active lifestyle.
3. What would you recommend to men and women who have sudden breakouts?
Acne is an incredibly common disorder, much more common in adulthood than is often perceived. And it causes immense heartache and stress. I think that a lot of beauty trends are detrimental to those who are breakout-prone. So the first thing I do when I see this kind of patient is to do a thorough skincare detox; generally this means getting rid of almost everything they’re currently using (including make-up) and starting to build up a solid, rational regime from scratch. The basis of this will be non-comedogenic products to support and enhance skin function. Then I’ll add in medicated products, depending on their needs.
4. What’s your number one tip for glowing skin?
Gosh, only one! Well, in view of the fact that the main reason for skin losing its glow is the result of sun damage, which slows down cell turnover and leads to hyperpigmentation, it would have to be daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen. If you start this simple step early enough in life, the difference in your skin will be immense over the long-term. It’s a real challenge to get younger women to think this way – the need for a quick-fix is strong! But it really is crazy to spend a fortune on an anti-ageing night cream when you’re not blocking the cause of at least 80% of ageing.
5. How should we change our skincare regime on the days we exercise?
I’ve just blogged about this, actually! It’s a really key topic, especially with the trend for ‘hot’ exercise. It’s hugely beneficial from a psychological point of view to work out in the middle of the day, but many women desist because they’re scared of wrecking their professional ‘face’. I don’t think skincare needs to change too much – I’d adopt the principles I mentioned earlier, so avoid using products that promote clogging. The key is to also keep make-up light. Avoid powder and use blotting papers to tackle shine. To save on time, leave make-up in place unless doing a really sweaty work-out like Bikram (in which case use a gentle Micellar water to remove and moisturise where needed). Blot away after you’ve exercised. The absence of powder means you can still work with your base and touch it up accordingly.
6. What skincare steps should we take now we are heading into Spring? Do we need to change our skincare routine?
I think that skin is skin – and its needs are the same all year-round. But the key change is in temperature and humidity, meaning that we can lighten up on moisturiser. So switch from cream to lotion or gel, depending on preference. It’s also a good time to really focus on skin texture and tone – the better skin quality is, the less make-up is needed for concealment. So build an antioxidant like vitamin C into your daytime routine; and add a vitamin a-derivative (like retinol or retinaldehyde) at night to brighten, exfoliate and stimulate new collagen production. And of course don’t skip on sunscreen.